Safe and effective for reducing pain from bone metastases

A study published online in the journal Cancer, which states Image-guided radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a minimally invasive cancer treatment which can be performed in the outpatient setting, significantly reduced the level of pain experienced by cancer patients with bone (osseous) metastases, limiting the need for strong narcotic pain management, and supporting improved patient frame of mind.

RFA is an image-guided technology that uses heat to kill, or ablate, tumor cells. The study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), demonstrated that RFA, often used to treat liver, kidney and lung cancer tumors, is also a safe and effective pain management tool for patients with bone metastases, said the company.

The researchers studied 55 patients who had a single painful bone metastasis. Each received computed tomography (CT) guided RFA of the tumor. Patients evaluated their pain prior to treatment, then daily for two weeks following the procedure, and again at one month and three months after RFA.

The study results showed pain reduction at the one and three-month follow-ups for all pain assessment measurements like pain relief, intensity and severity. In all cases, improvement was seen for each measurement, including patient mood, with the most improvement at the one-month interval.

The company said that the procedure was found to be safe with few adverse events. RFA can be an alternative for patients who previously received radiation therapy and have reached their maximum radiation dose, but are still experiencing pain.